Nespresso publishes ‘The Positive Cup’: results from its seven-year sustainability strategy


Swiss single serve and espresso machine manufacturer, Nespresso has published results from the company’s 2014 to 2020 sustainability strategy in a report titled ‘The Positive Cup’.

The report outlines the company’s goals and how well they were achieved related to coffee, climate, and aluminium, which is a key recyclable material used in Nespresso’s capsules.

Under this seven-year sustainability strategy, Nespresso invested US$637 million (CHF585 million) into its sustainable operations. This was designed to improve company practices such as sourcing coffee from certified brands, reducing carbon output, and increasing capsule recycling.

Jérôme Perez, Global Head of Sustainability at Nespresso says, “For the past seven years, The Positive Cup has guided us on our sustainability journey, ensuring we maintain absolute focus and momentum on achieving our goals.”

According to the report’s findings, more than 93 per cent of Nespresso’s permanent coffee is now sustainably sourced through its AAA Sustainable Quality Program. This is 9 per cent higher than 2014, which saw 84 per cent of its coffee being sustainable sourced.

“Building stronger, more resilient farming communities has always been at the heart of Nespresso’s activities,” the report states. “The company continued to drive innovative projects to help protect coffee farmer welfare like pioneering innovative retirement savings and crop insurance schemes.”

In these seven years, Nespresso created a pension saving scheme that is helping more than 2000 coffee farmers in Colombia and 1500 farmers in Indonesia. A further 4700 Colombian coffee farmers have also been enrolled in crop insurance with more than 15,000 hectares now insured.

The report also examines how well Nespresso achieved its climate change goals. Nespresso says it reduced its carbon footprint by 24 per cent per cup of Nespresso coffee, compared against its 2009 baseline. This was achieved through investments into renewable energy, sourcing low carbon materials, optimising logistics, and introducing eco-designs into Nespresso’s products.

Nespresso’s initial US$16 million (CHF15 million) investment in 2014 aided the company in creating natural climate solutions. This, in combination with partners such as French environment protection organisation the Pur Projet, has seen Nespresso plant more than 5.2 million trees between 2014 and 2020.

The company also reported reaching a global recycling rate of 32 per cent at the end of 2020. This is by 17 per cent higher than Nespresso’s 2014 rate.

The report states that Nespresso’s recycling efforts stretches across 59 countries, with the brand now having a dedicated recycling system in 54 countries.

Nespresso now offers a ‘Recycling at Home’ option where consumers can have their used capsules picked up from their place of residence. During production, Nespresso further shares its infrastructure with other capsule manufacturers in five of the countries it operates in.

As a founding member of the Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI), Nespresso says it has paved the way to create the first sustainable virgin aluminium standard.

“ASI set the first ever global standards for sustainably, responsibly-produced aluminium,” the company says. “Nespresso didn’t achieve its target to source 100% ASI-certified aluminium at the end of 2020, as the brand shifted its priority to produce capsules with recycled content as a priority.”

Since then, Nespresso has worked to ensure that all its production centres are now ASI-certified and has identified recycled aluminium suppliers for ASI certification. The company aims to achieve its full ASI certification by 2022.

“We have learnt a lot and we’re proud of the achievements, yet we know we need to do more and accelerate our journey in this decisive decade to 2030, by increasing the scale of our coffee sourcing program, expanding the recycling of our capsules through industry-wide approaches, pushing innovation and driving systemic change, especially through agroforestry,” says Perez.

“The Positive Cup is the launchpad and successful model upon which we will continue building to drive further advancements to preserve the future of our planet.”

Nespresso is currently defining its complete sustainability roadmap for the future, which will focus on preserving exceptional coffee, building resilient and regenerative coffee agriculture systems and improving farmer’s livelihoods.

To read to Nespresso’s Positive Cup report, click here.

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